The Director-General, Nigeria Meteorological Agency, Dr Anthony Anuforom, says agricultural production will decline by between 10 per cent and 25 per cent in 2014, if necessary climate-resilient measures were not applied.
Anuforom said this on Thursday in Abuja at a workshop organised by NIMET on the application of the 2014 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction.
He said the workshop, which had the theme, “Meteorological Information as a Tool for Planning and Decision Making”, was designed to provide a platform to deliberate on ways to reduce vulnerability, manage disaster risks, and increase productivity in meteorology-related sectors.
He said there were concerns that the current status of food insecurity in the country could worsen, if necessary steps were not taken urgently to make agriculture climate-resilient.
“Production in this sector could decline by as much as between 10 per cent and 25 per cent, if necessary measures such as the use of science-based climate information are not applied.
“This is with a view to checking the effect of climate change and climate variability.
“It is also predicted that the decline of yields in rain-fed agriculture in most African countries, south of the Sahara, including Nigeria, can further be as much as 50 per cent.
“Therefore Nigeria, being more than 90 per cent dependent on rain-fed agriculture, is also at risk,” he said.
He said the World Meteorological Organisation had shown that application of agro-meteorological information in the management of farms could boost crop yield by 30 per cent.
He said the measure could also improve water resource management significantly.
Anuforom said evidence had shown that early warning information was effective in reducing vulnerability of human population to hydro-meteorological disasters.
According to him, statistics have also shown that although economic losses related to disasters are increasing globally, the application of early warning systems has helped to reduce casualties from hydro-meteorological hazards.
Anuforom recalled that the National Emergency Management Agency reported that the 2012 flood killed 363 people, injured 5,851 persons and displaced 3,871,530 persons in the country.
He said the casualty rate would have been reduced, if stakeholders had responded to the early warning information issued by NiMeT through the 2012 SRP drought and flood monitoring bulletin.
Anuforom said the Federal Government was implementing a comprehensive Agricultural Transformation Agenda meant to re-align agriculture in the country from subsistence and largely rural-based to full scale business.
“The ATA is expected to add 20 million tonnes of food to the national supply by 2015 and 3.5 million new jobs in the agriculture sector,” he said.